Yes! Social Media is important. Especially for hoteliers!
In today's time, when everyone is spoilt for choice, the most important marketing decision you need to make is defining the target audience. Even if you are just a hotelier. Targeted marketing is the key of the game, and targeted marketing is, by definition, exclusionary.
You need to clearly define your target audience. Once that is done, you need to identify the platforms on which your target audience is active. And that's where this question appears in anyone's mind: "Which platforms should my hotel use to target potential customers?"
Remember - nobody searches for a job on Facebook or looks for a hotel review on LinkedIn. Being present on the most popular platform does not make sense if your target audience is not active there. Here is some quick help when it comes to popular platforms:
*This is not about how to improve your reviews in OTA's! This is only about what social media platforms you should consider to be present and what is it good for.
- Only when you have highly visual content. Usually good for hotels with a nice view and lots of professional pictures.
- You want to leverage the community effect.
- You want to build trust in the minds of the users by leveraging their friends’ network's. You can even consider some loyalty programs run and shared in this platform.
- You are ready to spend on ads as recent changes in Facebook’s algorithm have made it very difficult to organically reach out to fans
- Broadcast your message
- Join the on-going conversations
- Connect with thought leaders and people that matter to you
- Build a position for yourself
- Follow travellers who talk about your hotel and stay connected with them
- Use it for hotel employees because they represent you whether you like it or not.
- You want to connect with a professional audience and establish your thought leadership within a group of homogeneously targeted audience.
- Help you with your SEO efforts. Everybody nowadays searches your hotel via search engines. It's not just OTA's (Online Travel Agency) that matters. It's your website, other websites mentioning your hotel and even blogs talking about you. Use Google+ as a social media platform to contribute in this world of SEO. Some people even search you via Google Maps and comments in your Google+ page will appear for them in Google Maps (again whether you like it or not!)
- Participate in Google communities to connect with like-minded people
- Your primary target audience include women. Yep! Pinterest is proven to be more effective for women! There, I said it! There are hundreds of hospitality properties that women find it more comfortable and so they are more likely to become your customer than others.
- You have highly visual content to share. Exactly like Facebook, Pinterest is also suitable for hotels and properties with more high quality and cool pictures. If you don't have one, don't waste your time creating a Pinterest account.
These, of course, are just guidelines. You need to do a more thorough research and brainstorming to finalize the social platforms for your brand.
After you choose your platforms, remember to follow these rules:
- Never do too much or too little: Once you choose a social platform, you need to commit to it. Having an inactive presence on any of the platforms creates a bad impression. You need to show activity on the social platforms and need to have consistency. The opposite is also true – you just can’t do too much.
- Consistent proper content: Content marketing is the gasoline of your social media efforts. You need to have good blog articles to showcase your expertise. Also, remember that each platform has different content needs. Don’t make the mistake of pushing the same content on all the platforms just because there are tools available that allow you to do so. Good presence for hotels means good and interesting content for your audience. It could be an article about your location or tourist attractions around you.
- Negative comments rule: Lots of hotels shy away from social media because of the fear of negative comments. But note that negative comments are, in fact, good opportunities for you to build trust in the minds of your readers. One of the foremost thing you need to remember while handling negative comments on the social platform is that you should NEVER give a canned response to any negative comment. Be personal and show genuine interest in solving the problem. Acknowledge the issue, and take genuine actions to resolve it. If the there is a mistake, accept it and take all efforts to resolve it.